Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Court’s Free-Speech Expansion Has Far-Reaching Consequences - The New York Times

Adam Liptak has highlighted the dangers of the Supreme Court's aggressive use of the First Amendment.  Citizens United's license to corporations is the most famous.  But there  are many other threats.  As the FDA's retreat on graphic cigarette warnings demonstrated, public health now labors in the shadow of the First Amendment, as a recent Yale conference highlighted.
My dear late friend used to refer to the brilliant libertarian legal scholar Richard Epstein as "the greatest legal thinker of the 19th century".  The nightmare of his triumph is coming true.  As Yale Law School Dean Robert Post observes - the court's conservative majority is on the verge of pushing us back to the 19th century.
Conservatives are wrapping themselves in First Amendment absolutism.  Liberals fall into this trap: they support freedom for those who harass patients at Planned Parenthood clinics, for example.  Free speech absolutism dovetails neatly with the Federalist Society conservatives' basic objective: dismantle the regulatory state, repeal the New Deal.  Think that's overstating it?  Think again. - gwc
Court’s Free-Speech Expansion Has Far-Reaching Consequences - The New York Times
by Adam Liptak

WASHINGTON — It is not too early to identify the sleeper case of the last Supreme Court term. In an otherwise minor decision about a municipal sign ordinance, the court in June transformed the First Amendment.

Robert Post, the dean of Yale Law School and an authority on free speech, said the decision was so bold and so sweeping that the Supreme Court could not have thought through its consequences. The decision’s logic, he said, endangered all sorts of laws, including ones that regulate misleading advertising and professional malpractice.

“Effectively,” he said, “this would roll consumer protection back to the 19th century.”

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